Eurest leaves a foul taste!

Stop Mobbing, Wage Dumping & Attacks on Workers at Ford Canteens in Cologne!

Dear Fellow Workers at Ford,
We‘ve come to you, because we want to bring your attention to an urgent problem, which needs to be solved: The working conditions in the canteen of the Ford development plant in Cologne-Merkenich. You should not accept any longer how your colleagues, who prepare your food there, are treated behind the scenes. Nor, how EUREST’s management try to undermine their shop stewards, who have always stood up for the rights of canteen workers.

We ask you to contribute to working for humane working conditions in your canteens. It is early February – on Ash Wednesday lent will begin. We suggest, you do something for your figure – and at the same time for workers‘ rights.

But for all those, who don‘t want to do without their well-deserved lunch, we have a tip on how to do just that, and still damage the exploiter EUREST (see back).
- Eat less in your canteen, until EUREST are kicked out!
- Show your solidarity with the shop stewards at the Ford development plant!
- Bring your own sandwich from tomorrow on!

The story so far…
-In early 2006, the workers of the EUREST canteen in Cologne-Merkenich elected shop stewards, who seriously tried to improve working conditions and to change the behaviour of management.
-The three elected colleagues – Ilknur, Sylvia, and Halil – have since been targeted with systematic warnings.Those were often fabricated accusations which did not hold in court.
-They were suspended for 9 months – with full (low)-work benefits. During this time, the managers of the canteen (Monika Maylan and Hans-Werner Steinbach) tried to intimidate the workers and to turn them, with threats and promises, against their representatives.
-Before the shop stewards intervened, workers, who were off sick, had to clean the toilets when they returned to work.
-The chair of the shop committee, Ilknur C., collapsed in July 2009 and was brought unconscious to the Ford in-plant medical station. Before this incident Monika Maylan, had systematically put pressure on her in her work.
- Cologne Wobblies (IWW) distributed flyers to the workers at Cologne-Merkenich and informed the media twice. Subsequently, the abusive head of the kitchen, Hans-Werner Steinbach was transferred to the neighboring canteen of the Ford replacement-part store – where he now picks on other workers.
-In the coming election of shop stewards in April 2010 EUREST wants to turn the tables once and for all: the universally loathed Kitchen-‘General‘ Steinbach is the suggested candidate.

Mobbing and Humiliations
The atmosphere at this work-place is hard to imagine for most workers in ‚normal‘ jobs:

-Individual workers are singled out and mocked by management for weeks, they are constantly watched, bad-mouthed behind their backs, and picked on. Some then sign voluntary contractual changes, which have resulted in significantly lower wages for them. Many fall ill or change jobs.
-A manager intentionally kicks over a cleaner’s bucket and the worker has to clean everything again.
-Another woman, after a six week sick leave for mental distress, upon being found fit for work by her personal doctor, cut her veins the day before she had to return to work. Fortunately she survived.

Why does EUREST have to go?
-Because EUREST is well-known to squeeze workers like lemons.
-Because the company did not grasp the opportunity to remove Monika Maylan and Hans-Werner Steinach from their positions in the canteen. The canteen-giant evidently does not want to expose itself by reacting to urgent complaints of its workers.
-Because EUREST apparently intends to only accept shop stewards who are subservient to them. This tendency has also been reported from other EUREST-canteens.

What kind of company is EUREST?
EUREST is the largest operator of factory and office canteens in Europa. In Germany around 8.400 people work at 700 locations for EUREST. Also the Ford Canteen at the Replacement-Part Store and at Aachen and Saarlouis are run by EUREST.
EUREST is part of the catering-giant Compass-Group PLC, which ranks under the FTSE 100 (share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies) listed on the London Stock Exchange. According to the company, Compass employs 388.000 people worldwide.

What do Ford and the IG Metal (Industrial Union of Metalworkers) have to do with all this?
In Germany there are many large companies such as Daimler, VW, or BASF, who still run their own canteens, rather than to contract external exploiters like EUREST. At Ford Cologne and the local IG Metal something seems to have gone wrong. In the case of EUREST, the otherwise proud union there seems to do absolutely nothing – at least nothing has changed for the better so far.

On the side of Ford Heike Plankemann in their personnel department is responsible for their coordination with EUREST. The outrageous conditions in the canteen don‘t seem to be of much interest to her. We ask ourselves: Is she avoiding a confrontation, is she overburdened by the situation, or does Ms. Plankemann pursue in her interactions with EUREST her own interests? It can, however, not be in the interests of her employer, if the Ford name is tainted by association with the behaviour of its contractor.

Better Than a Diet: Side-Dish Sabotage

If you only eat side-dishes, like salads and veg, instead of the full meal, you harm EUREST very directly: mains are actually subsidized by Ford, but side-dishes on their own are accounted for in such a way, that EUREST loses. Important: only order the small sides, and do not order a main course!

Solidarity can be so small, but still so sweet!

What’s the alternative?
We demand that Ford Motor Company:
-Dissolves all contracts with EUREST immediately.
-Runs all canteens itself again.
-Takes on all canteen workers on regular contracts.
-Puts an end to mini- and starvation wage jobs.
-Puts an end to the abusive actions against workers and shop stewards.

Otherwise Ford’s image could be tainted for good. For Ford is fully responsible for its sub-contractors and their conduct.

What can you do?
-Don‘t eat in the canteen until humane working conditions are established.
-Send protest emails to the following contacts:, (Protest letter at
-Contact the Kitchen Committee:

After Workers‘ Protests: Daimler-Benz Dismisses Dirty Cleaning Company!
(see: Junge Welt, 23.12.2009)
Protests of Daimler-Benz workers in Unterturkheim have led the car manufacturer to dissolve its contracts with the sub-contractor Kluh, whose area of activity is the cleaning of buildings. The company had become a talking point because of its abusive treatment of women cleaners. A site group of workers at Daimler had publicized the situation at their plant in their magazine ‚Alternative‘. Martin Bott, shop steward at the Daimler plant, explained to the press: „The company could not afford to remain inactive because of the public outcry. It is incredibly, what criminal energy such companies bring to the exploitation of their workers.“

What they can do at Daimler-Benz, you can do to! Let’s get rid of EUREST!

Kitchen Committee Cologne,